Sunday, September 21, 2014

UNISON's election challenge

Labour has announced that we’ll increase the minimum wage to £8 an hour by 2020 if we can get Ed Miliband into 10 Downing Street.

The Trades Union Congress agreed Motion 25 (which you can read online here) which called for an increase to £10 an hour (and now, not in 2020).

UNISON is without doubt right to welcome this announcement nevertheless.

The difference which will matter to working class voters in next year’s General Election will not be that between the policy of the TUC and that of the Labour Party, but that between the Labour and Conservative parties.

We need a Labour Government (with apologies to thosepursuing other political dreams).

We also need a trade union movement which will make better use of the link with the Labour Party which we (partially) defended.

We cannot afford to repeat the mistake of foolish timidity which meant that we failed effectively to oppose New Labour’s plans for foundation hospitalsand tuition fees(thereby helping them to build the bridges over which the Tories have since marched).

This is part of the debate which we need to have, along with a debate about how we mobilise members to fight for our collective interests as workers and how we build our movement in these times.

UNISON has a unique opportunity to engage our members and activists in a debate about how we achieve all our objectives – because we have to have a General Secretary election which must start in the next few months.

The collective challenge which therefore confronts the members of UNISON’s National Executive Council (all of whom have, after all, chosen to put ourselves in this position) is to set out how we will enable this unavoidable election to help us achieve our objectives.

Those of us on the left will then face the challenge of what we do...

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